Letters to the editor: September 25 to October 1 2015

Booysen case a tangle of claims

There is clearly an elaborate game of smoke and mirrors afoot concerning Major General Johan Booysen.

One of the central issues in this matter concerns the allegations that the Cato Manor serious and violent crime unit was acting as a “hit squad”. The unit was associated with 51 killings over a period of less than four years, of which 19 are the subject of the current indictment against members of the unit as well as Booysen.

  According to Sam Sole’s story in last week’s Mail & Guardian (JZ looms large in cop vs cop battle), there are “indications” that the December 2011 story in the Sunday Times, which led to the investigation and charges against the members of the unit, was leaked by crime intelligence.

  This statement implies that the allegations emanate from an attempt to smear Booysen.
In a story that appeared in the M&G in April, Booysen stated this explicitly. He said the charges against the Cato Manor unit members were merely collateral damage in the alleged campaign against him.

  In fact, the allegations against the Cato Manor unit members predate the Sunday Times story. Though that story exposed the alleged involvement of the unit in a much wider range of extrajudicial killings, there were reports on the matter before that.

  One can find press stories on the matter going back at least to February 2009. The Sunday Independent printed an exposé on the killing of seven members of the KwaMaphumulo Taxi Association by members of the Cato Manor unit, written by journalist Fred Kockott in November 2009.

  Last week’s M&G report says that Booysen and Bheki Cele are close. In fact, Kockott’s story contained information that appeared to indicate that the unit’s involvement in these killings was known to Cele and carried his blessing.

There are at least three different issues that are in dispute in this matter. These are the allegations that:


  • The Cato Manor unit was involved in a pattern of extrajudicial executions;

  • As head of the unit, Booysen knew about the executions and supported and condoned them; and

  • There are efforts to neutralise Booysen to protect Nomgcobo Jiba and neutralise corruption investigations such as those against Thoshan Panday and the people connected to him.

Complex as the many strands of this matter are, if one is not going to get lured into a one-sided analysis of the issue one needs to get used to the idea that these three contentions are not mutually exclusive.

  If, as Booysen maintains, there is a campaign against him, this does not mean that the first two contentions are not true. – David Bruce

When dissent is shut down, fascism rises

The media play a big role in a democratic state. But, in my view, we are nowhere near being a democratic state. We still have the Protection of State Information Bill pending and I think Jacob Zuma is going to sign it into law, because that is the only way the state can hide its corruption.

  The way the intelligence services behave is a clear sign that they want to shut down all dissent, be it civil dissent or political party dissent. The rise of a police state leads us to fascism and we must be ready for the puppets – the ruling party – to conform. You can look at the Right2Know report titled Big Brother Exposed.

During the dying years of apartheid, when the Mass Democratic Movement was fighting for freedom of expression, including freedom of the press, Naspers made sure that the Afrikaans media only advocated apartheid ideas.

The ANC is also looking for a space it can use to silence civil dissent. As we can see now, the ANC is protecting and maintaining the ideas of “white” monopoly capital and the tenderpreneurs. You no longer hear the South African Communist Party challenging the corruption of tenderpreneurs, because its general secretary has been co-opted into the management of bourgeois affairs. Now, these pseudo-communists are just individuals who want to get rich at the expense of the working class, particularly the black working class.

We must be vigilant in exposing the securocrats’ misdeeds. The people must know now that their enemy is also the ruling party, which promised people the implementation of the Freedom Charter. We must also start building alternative governance and a regime change. We all know that the ANC has told everybody that all those who want regime change are their enemies, meaning that the working class and the poor people are the enemy and apartheid ideologues are the friends of the ANC.

The ANC retains apartheid legislation, including the National Key Points Act, the Regulation of Gatherings Act and many more. We must fight for media freedom and diversity. There is no way the Zuma regime is going to be democratic because his predecessors were not democratic either.

  There are no short cuts to democracy – we must build it. – Mhlobo Gunguluzi

Look to Africa for guidance on our affairs

One of the main aims of the liberation struggle was for this country to return to the African family of nations.

The descendants of colonisers had twisted their necks towards their places of origin in the Western world. Thus, the reclamation of South Africa had to correct that.

This is a matter of freedom, identity and destiny for a people ravaged by European abuse, greed and robbery for centuries, from which the courts of the day couldn’t and didn’t free us because they were too busy upholding apartheid laws and benefiting from our woes.

Our liberation says we must look to Africa, and anyone who says otherwise is an enemy of our freedom and an insult to Africa. I am an African, in Africa and for Africa, and for that I make no apology as long as I stand on the soil of this continent.

It’s crunch time and the government must revert to its principles. We won’t have our political destiny determined by people we didn’t elect to govern us. To do that is to throw away our freedom. This one will be sorted out on the streets, if necessary. We won’t have elected people rubbished.

  I actually don’t care for Omar al-Bashir as such, but the International Criminal Court hasn’t won African respect through its track record and carries no legitimacy or moral authority. It is the African Union I care for. – Dr Masitha Hoeane



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